Water wells are a natural source of water for homes.
This is extremely important considering a well can cause driveways and structures near them to collapse, especially during floods.
If you have a well in your backyard and are planning to extend your driveway, it is imperative to understand the recommended well clearances before getting started with the project.
In this regard, How Close Can A Driveway Be To A Well?
Well, state and local requirements for minimum clearances from wells to driveways can vary. As a general rule, driveways must have at least 10 feet from the well, but 25 feet is preferable. This distance, though seemingly small, helps ensure safety.
Understanding how much space you need to leave around your well and how to protect the wellhead can help ensure safety and keep your drinking water from getting contaminated.
This post will cover more on maintaining water wells to help you make an informed decision before building anything near an existing water well or drilling a well near an existing driveway or other structures.
Four Reasons Why Driveways And Wells Shouldn’t Be Close Together
Safety is paramount, and clearance distances are often meant to ensure safety.
Whether state and local standards are less or more stringent on the minimum horizontal distance between wells and driveways, here are reasons why you should not have a well close to a driveway:
1. The Well Could Turn Into A Sinkhole
This is the last thing you want to happen! With your driveway near or over the well, it means your vehicle will be hitting the well nearly every day.
This will make the ground shake and open underneath. Over time, the ground will open significantly, potentially creating a sinkhole.
If you park your car on a driveway near or built over a well, it might sink if the driveway collapses. Many things, like floods, can cause driveways built on unstable grounds to collapse.
2. Oil And Car Exhaust Can Contaminate Water
The earth around your well serves to filter out the impurities in well water, but it is not 100 percent effective.
If you have your well and drive very close to each other, the oil and other wastes from your car will eventually make their way into the well and contaminate the water, making it unsafe for use, particularly drinking.
3. Using Water That Has Been Contaminated Can Be A Health Hazard
To ensure your water remains safe for use, it is imperative to safeguard the wellhead and ensure you don’t extend the driveway into the well’s proximity.
One of the preferred ways to protect wellheads is by raising them slightly above ground level.
4. Having A Well Near A Driveway Can Attract Fines
Most states have codes stipulating the minimum distance a well should be from a driveway and other elements that may pose some risks.
These regulations may be more rigorous, depending on where you live.
Knowingly or inadvertently, if you fail to comply with the clearance stipulations, you not only risk contaminating your water but might also be fined.
Even worse, you will have to deal with the cost of correcting the mistake before you can continue living in your home.
When it comes to how close your driveways can be to a well, it is always a good idea to check local zoning ordinances for any restrictions on building wells.
The local codes will provide you with reliable information. Your local health department can as well advise you on clearance distances from wells to other boundaries.
Is Having A Well Next To A Driveway REALLY THAT DANGEROUS?
The straight answer is YES. For safety reasons, drinking water wells should not be near areas where motor oil can leak and make its way into the well.
This is extremely important, no matter what type of filters you have.
Precisely, the filters won’t always remove the contaminants, and you don’t want to poison your well water.
Besides contamination, there are structural risks associated with having a well and driveway very close to each other.
Ultimately, the risks outweigh the benefits, no matter how you see the idea of having a well close to a driveway.
Protecting Your Wellhead
Even with no structures near a well, there is still the risk of contaminated water flowing from the surrounding into the well.
So, how can you safeguard your well?
Perhaps the most common way of safeguarding water wells is capping them off. Capping your well is a cost-effective and excellent way to prevent water from entering it, especially during torrential downpours that may lead to floods.
Thankfully, most well contractors often seal wells after digging.
If, for some reason, your well contractor does not seal the wellhead, you can expect to spend about $500 to $1,500 to have it sealed.
Unless you are approved to deal with wells, installing a wellhead is a risky job that you should never attempt; otherwise, you will be putting your life in danger.
Of significance, the cap of your well should not fully cover the wellhead, even if the wellhead is not visually pleasing.
In other words, your well needs proper ventilation.
Covering the well completely can result in bacteria and fungi.
Besides, the well can possibly suck contaminants into the well water if a vacuum is created due to improper ventilation.
A good well cap should extend at least one foot above the ground and be tight to keep rodents and insects from invading the well and contaminating your water.
It would be great if you could make the ground surrounding your well slope away.
This will help divert surface runoff, minimizing the risk of contamination, even during floods. The idea is to prevent ponding near the well.
Maintaining Your Water Wells
Water is critical to life, and maintaining your well can help ensure you have a steady supply of clean and safe water.
Regular maintenance can also ensure your good system works perfectly.
Here are tips to help you keep your well water safe:
- Install water monitoring systems
- Install anti-backflow devices on faucets with hose connections. This will prevent chemicals from being siphoned into the well or household’s water system.
- Schedule annual water inspection and testing with your local water utility. You should only continue using the well water if test reports indicate satisfactory quality.
- Inspect electrical connections and the well cap periodically to ensure they pose no risks.
- Be keen to note changes in the area around your well and any changes in water it provides.
- Finally, when your well reaches its serviceable life (usually over 20 years), have a qualified well contractor construct a new well and properly decommission the old one.
Although water wells are not as common nowadays, they are still popular enough, making it important to understand how to keep them in good condition.
For safety and to ensure your well water remains safe for drinking, comply with state and local ordinances regarding water well clearances and schedule regular maintenance of your well.